The Weekend Solopreneur

Issue 23.03

Saturday, January 21, 2023

What I learned from missing this issue

This week’s issue of The Weekend Solopreneur is late.

There are three reasons this happened. I would like to share these reasons so you can see that even experienced writers fumble, and also show you what I’m going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Why it happened

There are 3 reasons this happened:

Reason #1: A simple (and completely avoidable) oversight

Writing these weekly articles is such a part of my weekly routine that I didn’t even have a time set out in my calendar to do it. Or a recurring task that shows up every week.

Usually, this is fine - but as you will see from the other reasons, the combination of no time slot and no task reminders meant that, in the thick of things, it completely slipped my mind. I forgot - as silly as that sounds.

Reason #2: An unusual week

Last week (when I was supposed to write this article) was unusual.

We came back from vacation late Monday night, I had a bit of a cold left over from before we even came back (so my head was not as clear as it could be), and there was a lot of work to catch up on very quickly.

Reason #3: Urgent requests

On Friday there was an urgent request from one of my consulting clients.

Handling this took up most of the day. Saturday morning, coffee in hand, the other newsletters I subscribe to started coming in - and then the realization hit that I had missed my article.

What I’m going to do about it

First, I realize that this is not the end of the world. Slip-ups and mistakes happen in every business. We’re human and mistakes happen.

Of course I feel bad about it. I know there’s an expectation with my regular readers, and I failed to deliver on that. But on the bright side, there’s always a lesson to be learnt, and sharing this lesson may be of value to you as well.

Making sure this doesn’t happen is quite simple.

Fix #1: Time blocking

There’s now a regular, recurring time blocked out in my calendar for writing this article and creating the promotional material that goes around it.

Every Monday, from 6:30 am to 8:30 am, is blocked out. I’m not sure if this is enough or too much time, but the time is blocked out.

Like with all other time blocks, things will happen that overlap with this time - in fact this very first Monday already had an early-morning commitment. But I can move the time blocks around - and I know I can’t delete them.

This is all I really need to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again - but I’m going to take one extra step.

Fix #2: Invest in systems

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of familiarity. Doing the same task over and over again (in this case, writing a weekly article) can easily lead you to the impression that you know how to do this, and you can just do it off the top of your head.

And in most cases, this works.

But whenever there’s an unusual week, or extraordinary demands on our time, we have to rush through something - and that’s where things get forgotten.

So I’m going to resurrect the checklist I used in the past to write these articles. This is a simple “system” that ensures I do each step and don’t miss anything.

What I’ve learnt (again) - and what you can adopt

The core lessons I’ve learnt are:

  • We’re human and we’re going to make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world - we can always fix it.
  • If it ain’t in the calendar, it’s going to be missed.
  • Systems (or a checklist, in this case), make sure you do repetitive things well every time.

So - apologies for the late delivery. I hope my lessons learnt help you as well.